Australian Hi-Fi

Hybrid powerhouse


Like having your cake and eating it? McIntosh’s new MC451 dual mono power amplifiers could be the next powerhouse for you, combining both valve and solid-state amplificat­ion in one (beefy) unit.

The 150-watt vacuum tube amplifier is for driving midrange drivers and tweeters, while the 300-watt solid-state section takes care of woofers. This ‘McIntosh Hybrid Drive’ technology is somewhat adjustable, too, as users can tweak the crossover point at which the MC451 sends all frequencie­s above it to the solid-state amplifier and all frequencie­s below it to the vacuum tube amplifier.

This, the US firm states, oŽers flexibilit­y that can be taken advantage of to match music genres to their preferred amp technology. For example, rock music could be enhanced by introducin­g a higher proportion of solid-state amplificat­ion, while jazz could benefit from more valves.

Those who keenly follow McIntosh, or who simply have a good memory, might be aware that this isn’t McIntosh’s first crack at a Hybrid Drive amplifier. The much larger and pricier MC901 performs the same trick but with a lot more grunt, boasting a 300-watt vacuum tube amp combined with a 600-watt solid-state amp.

It goes without saying that the MC451 has been given the full McIntosh treatment. The black glass front plate is set with two blue-lit watt meters (one for each amp section) and three green-lit windows that showcase the valve tubes.

The company's proprietar­y Power Guard signal overload technology is also onboard, preventing the amp from overdrivin­g the speakers, as is its short-circuit protection.

The McIntosh MC451 mono power amps will cost $29,995 each when they go on sale early this year.

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